Vijay Mallya Loses Legal Move:Vijay Mallya lost out on a legal move that seemed astonishing from the start. It arose from a move to seize some of Mallya's assets. Following the launch of legal proceedings by a consortium of Indian banks led by the State Bank of India, one of Mallya's properties in Cannes in the south of France was sold for £2.8 million. That money was deposited into a court fund in London. In February Mallya succeeded, in the face of strong opposition from the banks, to get £1.2 million from that to pay his legal fees in England. Then he moved court to get another £758,000 released out of that money for his legal fees in India – £550,000 for current costs and the rest for future legal matters that may arise. Judge Miles dismissed that application. It remains surprising that Judge Bennett had allowed Mallya to succeed in securing the earlier payment.
France Imposes Curbs on UK Travellers: After days of hesitation, France has now imposed restrictions on travellers from the UK due to the prevalence of the B.1.617 Covid-19 variant, originally found in India. All travellers from the UK will have to quarantine for seven days on arrival in France from May 31. That as good as kills British tourism to France over the period. May 31 is a Bank Holiday in Britain, and thousands had been considering at the least a weekend getaway to France. Visits were being planned despite the current UK 'amber-listing' of France that advises against travel and requires quarantine on return. Many visitors had been hoping that Britain would lift restrictions just ahead of the long weekend coming up. Austria is banning direct flights from the UK from the following day.
Flattening curve: The downward curve in Covid-19 cases in the UK is beginning to flatten out. In all 3,180 new cases were reported on Wednesday, mostly with the B.1.617 variant. The number of people in hospital rose to 954,36 more than a day earlier. By way of defence against the virus, 38 million people, which is 73 per cent of all adults have received at least one dose of a vaccine, and more than 23 million have had a second. The gap between the two doses is being cut down in order to offer greater protection against the virus. More second doses are being given now than first doses. The outcome of the battle between the vaccines and B.1.617 variant still remains uncertain, despite indications of substantial protection from the vaccines.
More Cases in Indian-dominated areas: Southall and Indian dominated areas around are reporting four times the national average of coronavirus cases. The traditional Indian 'adda' in Britain – celebrated by some, derided by others – is now reporting 45 cases per 100,000 people, compared to the national average of 12. These numbers are all still low, but they are on the rise, and a rise in cases can be alarmingly rapid. The rise is being seen in the face of increased vaccination. The big hope now is that the vaccines will prevent serious illness even if they cannot stop a significant number from being infected.
Pfizer’s Suitable for Indians?: Pfizer is reported to have said that its vaccine is eminently suitable in India because almost a quarter of the people in a study proving its effectiveness in England were of Indian origin. The Pfizer vaccine has shown a near 90 per cent success rate in preventing infections with the B.1.617 variant. Pfizer has reported success around the world, but it now holds the promise of proven effectiveness amongst Indians. This is particularly reassuring because Indians have been disproportionately hard hit by the virus in several countries including Britain in relation to the rest.